Cyrus Field didn’t know the first thing about telegraphs when he retired from running a successful paper mill in 1853. But when his “big dream” took hold, there was no stopping him. He made three attempts to lay a cable across the Atlantic (watching borrowed funds disappear and the cheers of crowds turn into taunts) before a fourth succeeded. Through photos, diagrams, and clear explanations, the author describes the complicated business of securing thousands of miles of cable, transferring it onto ships, and reeling it out onto the ocean floor without snapping it. All the while, the ability to transmit a signal – from one end of the cable to the other – had to be maintained. Cowan uses the twisting and straining of the cable to mirror the twists of history and politics, and the almost unbearable strain on Field himself. Added to the rousing good story is the copious back matter (author’s note, timeline, source notes, selected bibliography, and a list of additional books, videos, and websites to consult for further information). This is nonfiction for young adult readers at its best.
Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge, Author
Biography | View
- Just Fine They Way They Are (Calkins Creek, March 1, 2011)
- The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton (Clarion Books, 2010)
- Thank You Very Much, Captain Ericsson! (Holiday House, 2005; Berndtsdotter Books, 2012)
- When Esther Morris Headed West (Holiday House, 2001)
- The Legend of Strap Buckner (Holiday House, 2001)
- Wicked Jack (Holiday House, 1995)
Speaker / Presenter
Connie is an experienced speaker and presenter who enjoys sharing her passion for writing and her experience as a writer with readers and writers of all ages. She has presented to students, community, civic and professional organizations, writing groups, library audiences, and seniors – wherever book lovers gather!
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